Ash (thegreencall) wrote in paganfinance,

Frugality: Pagan Value?

While I know that it is difficult to make generalizations about the Pagan community has a whole, it strikes that there a thread or current of Pagan folks that value being frugal. Sometimes it is expressed in terms of environmentalism and the reduction of waste. For others, being frugal is a rejection of consumerism. I would also lump folks who enjoy "doing it yourself" (DIY) as being frugal.

I was curious if anyone views frugality as a spiritual value or something that your tradition or path demands?

I think mine does, implicitly. I don't really hear anyone using the word frugal, but the people walking my path value being green, value people over things and value creativity & personal empowerment (which sometimes takes the form of DIY). I don't know if "frugal" be a word that would resonate with other folks on my path. It certainly isn't a flashy, cool or sexy word. But it seems like a good word to describe some of the behaviors that come out of other values we share.
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I would agree that sometimes buying green products or local food is more expensive and thus may not be traditionally thought of frugal (i.e. cheap). But I look at that as being frugal with society's resources. But I may be pushing the definition of frugal to include that though.
You've hit on an important point.

A holistic approach -- thinking globally and acting locally -- demands more mindfulness. For me that means spending more on high-quality food with an emphasis on local producers. It also means spending money on computer-based collaboration and teleconferences rather than flying to face-to-face meetings. And so on...

The money-cost does not change much, in total, but the cost to the Earth goes down.
I don't know about calling it frugality so much as utilizing finances wisely. At least that's how I try to approach it.
I value having money left over after all the bills are paid and financial obligations are met.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

--Charles Dickens

Frugality naturally springs from being fiscally conservative, and opens things up for greater self-sufficiency and happiness. Is this a Pagan value? Hard to say- I keep running into Pagans who are more like spendthrifts than solvent people.
Is this a Pagan value? Hard to say- I keep running into Pagans who are more like spendthrifts than solvent people.

I've run into these folks too. I meant my question more in terms of does your individual path stress being frugal as a spritiual value. I would guess that most of the folks on this comm have it as a personal value in any case. (And great quote BTW).
I do think that values similar to frugality matter to a lot of pagans. Growing your own things in a garden--sure it saves money but it is also a spiritual act; cooking at home, saves money from going out but is also a great sort of feast; recycling and reusing to preserve the environment, also saves on garbage bills, etc. I think it is and added benefit of following a more green or earthy path but not the main goal for most. Though being frugal is helping me save for retirement. Getting shoved in some crappy home where the workers don't understand my religion and are neglectful does not seem so cool to me, time to start saving for the cool pagan retirement home that path of the wise ones is trying to create someday.
For me, it's a matter of everything in my life linking to everything else in my life. As an animist, I believe everything has a spirit; therefore everything is worthy of my consideration. Because everything is worthy of my consideration, I make decisions based on that as much as possible. This means things like being aware of my impact on the environment (especially as the spirits of Nature are particularly important to me). In order to help the environment, I need to be aware of what other people are doing to it as well as what I do to it. People tend to be more compassionate towards other beings when others are compassionate towards them; therefore, I try to act with compassion.

In terms of finances, this translates over into my buying choices. It's part of why I choose to get as much organic/free range/etc. food as possible, with a minimum of chemicals. It's why, when possible, I go for fair trade items, and why I donate to And it's why I like supporting small businesses and craftspeople, rather than exploitative corporations, whenever possible.

So there is a spiritual connection; however, as there's no one to tell me how to believe, it's more just a matter of my own discoveries and making the connections among various parts of my life.
Interesting subject. I have recently been promoting prosperity as a value that we, as pagans, can embrace as a way of having more to give back to the community. I have an article I wrote on it here:
Is it pagan? No idea. Is it personal? You bet!

I look at frugality as a part of my choice to "live simply and simply live." There are four components: personal growth and self-determination, environmental awareness, decluttered lifestyle and a rejection of conspicuous consumerism, and evaluating everything on the human scale.

Are the choices simple? Not always. Are there trade-offs? Sure.

Find out what is right for you. Do that.
Only if by "frugal" you mean "unwilling to pay an artist or priest/ess for their time when they do work for you."
I don't know which if funnier--your reply, or your icon ;-)
Definitely the icon, given that the reply has entirely too much truth to it.

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Good household management is not a demand of my spiritual path. It is, however, a virtue that makes other things a lot easier.